The Dangerous Book for Boys premieres March 30th on Amazon Video.
By Ariba Bhuvad
Love. Happiness. Inspiration. Those are just some of the many positive emotions I felt while reviewing Amazon’s latest show, The Dangerous Book for Boys.
There wasn’t much expectation going in but what I was left with was something more valuable than I could have anticipated. The series is created/executive produced by Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston and Superbad’s Greg Mottola and inspired by a British guidebook for children. The story follows a family of five that have collectively lost a father, a husband, a son, and a brother. The devastating loss takes a toll on the family but also brings a twist they didn’t see coming–the deceased Patrick, played by the hilarious Chris Diamantopoulos, left behind a guidebook for the three sons. His hopes were to inspire them, teach them, and push them to think beyond their wildest imaginations. Being an inventor, Patrick put all sorts of how-to-dos in the book that sparks a series of fantasies specifically for his youngest son, Wyatt (Gabriel Bateman).
The season consists of six episodes and each episode focuses on a different aspect of the book that Wyatt finds himself in the middle of–ranging from landing on the moon or learning how to play poker. While he imagines his family in these fantasies with him, he is the true believer of the book his father left behind for them. The story is so endearing and sweet that it captures your heart from the get-go. I went into it thinking that this would be a children’s show and did not fathom the level of imaginative storytelling that would be infused within it. The fantastical feeling is one-half of what captures the viewer’s attention, because what lies at the heart of it is the family’s struggle to cope with the loss of Patrick. It is tragic, heartbreaking, and their pain feels so real that it directly connects with the person watching it. Along with Wyatt, he has two brothers, the rebellious Dash (Drew Powell), the over ambitious Liam (Kyan Zielinski), their mother Beth (Erin Hayes), Patrick’s twin brother also played by Diamantopoulos, and their corky grandmother Tiffany (Swoosie Kurtz). The family dynamic is extremely strong in the series and what makes it so relatable. Add in a bit of magic and hope, and The Dangerous Book for Boys translates into the perfect pick-me-up to fix the most sourest of moods.
Once I started watching the series, I was so invested that I binged it in its entirety. Something about the story and the execution of it all was so magical and beautiful. The element of the book was so perfect because it gave the kids something to aspire to even though their dad was no longer around to motivate them. And while it made for some wacky moments and made Wyatt appear like he may not be mentally stable to the outside world, the tale of this family trying to move forward without Patrick really tugged at my heartstrings. What stands out the most is that the narrative of the six episodes wasn’t simply focused on the heartbreak of losing a family member but how to take that and use it as motivation to live your best life. Quite often people break apart and can’t find a way to function but The Dangerous Book for Boys teaches its viewers that in sorrow there is a way to find joy, and it’s okay to mourn but don’t forget to live. How beautiful is that?
I give The Dangerous Book for Boys an A-.